For most of my childhood and well into adolescence, I loved anime and manga. Think: Sailor Moon, Hana Yori Dango, Honey and Clover, Bleach, Death Note, etc. (I could go on and on…) During weekends and summer vacations, I’d binge watch episodes and read for hours. And then during college, my roommates and I were totally into Japanese and Korean comedies and dramas. We would stay up well into the early morning, crying and watching these intense and addicting shows and series. And now in present time, thanks to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, binge watching shows and movies has become way too easy.
So back to the anime and manga, one food item commonly mentioned in these stories is melon pan. Melon pan, also known as melon bread or melon bun, is simply a sweet bread. It is not melon flavored (although you can find ones that are). It’s named such because of the cookie crust topping that resembles the melon rind. Melon pan is quite similar to pineapple bun, pan dulce and conchas. They all share some sort of cookie crust topping. But more importantly, they’re all delicious snacks.
The cookie crust is everything! It provides the perfect texture to complement the soft bread. The topping is crunchy, sweet, and makes me want to eat more and more!
The bread dough is fairly straight forward to make. After mixing the dough together, let it rise until it’s doubled in volume. While the dough is resting, make the cookie crust and keep in the fridge until ready to use. Once the dough has risen, divide it into 8 equal parts. I like to use a kitchen scale so the breads rolls are all uniform. Place the bread rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover the bread with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap prevents the dough from drying out and forming unwanted “elephant” skin.
Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and divide it into 8 parts. Gently roll out the cookie dough until it is large enough to cover the bread rolls.